Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Help student organizations beat the heat

Sharon Chang

The Austin heat has remained relentless, reaching record highs. Still, overheated students bustle along Speedway, tabling for student organizations and taking it all in. While campus recruitment didn’t stop, many organizations struggled to find members to table because of the immense heat. 

In light of the intense weather, UT should let student organizations table inside for a one-day event in University Union spaces, creating a better experience for both current organization members and prospective ones.  

Tabling on Speedway tests an organization’s ability to motivate its members. Raj Mehta, a Plan II  and government junior, is the president of Texas Mock Trial, a student organization that usually takes advantage of the fall semester’s tabling opportunities. But, tabling every day for two weeks in excessive heat is difficult. 

“The heat makes it so tough to get members to commit to tabling because you are gonna have to stand out in the heat with minimal to no shade for hours,” Mehta said. “It drains the energy out of us … the excitement of the recruitment effort isn’t at the full force that it was two weeks ago.”

While the passion that Mehta and his organization members have has kept them in the heat, the weather should not be a barrier to student organizations’ recruitment efforts. On-campus organizations help students find their place on the Forty Acres, and incoming students deserve the opportunity to explore their options without being subjected to the sun’s ferocity. 

“As an organization, we’re certainly sympathetic to (the heat),” said James Buckley, director of facilities and operations for University Unions. “Our challenge is going to be the logistics. Right now, I don’t have a formula that would allow us to do it the way we see it (on Speedway).” 

While tabling inside for weeks on end is currently not a feasible solution, the University could let student organizations table inside for a shorter event like Party on the Plaza. A one-day event would allow organizations to get a short break from the heat. The William C. Powers, Jr. Student Activity Center and the Union can let organizations reserve spaces in advance, hosting a student organization fair inside University buildings. 

Tabling inside is nothing new at UT. For Plan II Convocation, student organizations like Texas Mock Trial tabled in Patton Hall’s basement, meeting students and helping them connect with on-campus organizations.  

“I think tabling inside is a great option because it allows us to stay energized … students are in AC, so they’re more engaged and they’re willing to hear you out for longer,” Mehta said. 

Tabling inside can help student organizations connect with prospective members more intimately. Furthermore, students won’t be rushing to escape the heat or running to class on Speedway.

“It’s something where some student leaders and the unions and student activities could sit down and explore,” Buckley said. “There are places and spaces to move inside whether that’s the Union or Gregory Gym. I mean, there could be any number of possibilities, given enough time in advance, that could be explored.”

Although a one-day event is not the final answer to this problem, the University can find a more permanent solution. Ultimately, UT should let student organizations table inside at the start of the semester, creating an interactive student organization fair that encourages Longhorns to get involved on campus and out of the heat.  

Muthukrishnan is a government and race, indigeneity and migration sophomore from Los Gatos, California.

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About the Contributor
Sonali Muthukrishnan, Associate opinion editor